2020 February 18
Feb/18/2020 -- Daily News summary from Armenia -- Stay informed about the ongoing Anti-Corruption Busts, Constitutional Court crisis, Politics, Economy, Diaspora, Daily Life, and more...
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams ֏ unless specified otherwise.
suicide/murder in army
Despite the ongoing 18% reduction of crimes in the army, 5 non-combat army-service related suicides or murders happened since January 1st. The army says there are ways to combat this problem.
Once a week, the army contacts all high ranking officers to provide a report on bullying and dangerous incidents, and describe the origins of the problem, so the officers can take steps to prevent such incidents in their units.
Since June 2019 the army prevented 8 suicides. There is a reward system for action and disciplinary punishment for inaction.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180854 generals and minister to be fired
After a meeting between Pashinyan and Defense Ministry, a decision was made to fire several high ranking army officials for unsatisfactory work. At least 2 generals in Armenia and Artsakh were sacked.
According to media sources, Artsakh's Defense Minister was reportedly fired (Artsakh won't confirm or deny) and will be replaced by a "respected military figure" Jalal Harutyunyan who became a general in 2019.
(links below) Military Police chief fired / Accused of being ready to shoot Pashinyan in 2018
The chief of Military Police Arthur Baghdasaryan is among those fired for unsatisfactory work.
An interview was circulated yesterday during which a former Military Police official, the subordinate of the now-fired Baghdasaryan, claimed that during the 2018 revolution, the Military Police chief Baghdasaryan said, "I'll shoot Pashinyan the moment Serj tells me to."
The official claims that Baghdasaryan also instructed them to run over the crowd and make sure ~7 people die if the crowd blocks the police cars' pathway.
The official said during the interview:
I refused to accept his (now-fired Military Police chief's) illegal order and decided to file a complaint with the secretary. The secretary rejected my complaint because he was friends with chief Baghdasaryan. I then decided to confront the chief himself about his illegal order. I entered his office and told him I wouldn't follow the order to squash the crowd.
He looked at me and said, "Mr. Colonel, it looks like you're afraid?". I asked him what I should be afraid of and he said, "Listen carefully. See the portrait of Serj Sargsyan hanging from this wall? If he gave an order I'd shoot Nikol Pashinyan." I told him I'm not used to shooting Armenians, I'm a soldier who went through a war. I left the protest note on his desk.
There was another illegal order by him witnessed by 22 other people. During the revolution days, the Military Police raised an emergency alarm to gather 80 men. We were supposed to catch the rogue soldiers who left their barracks and joined pro-Pashinyan protesters. We drove to the protest area. Chief Baghdasaryan, with his unprofessional attire and behavior, was already there. "Are you the punks who're supposed to catch the soldiers?" asked the chief.
Then a truck full of special unit armed soldiers came and closed the area. These special forces guys were under my direct subordination. I was surprised to see them there because I didn't give them orders to come. I asked chief Baghdasaryan, "Mr. General, why are they here with live ammunition and rifles, did you order them to come?". The chief responded, "It's none of your business".
After 5 minutes of arguing I convinced my special forces to get back in the truck and drive back to the station. (Another march 1st averted?). Baghdasaryan's decision to give them live ammo and bring them against unarmed soldiers was illegal. Even if they try to destroy records now, 400 people have witnessed this.
https://www.lragir.am/2020/02/18/518766/ criminal subculture detention
Famous criminal subculture "thieves" Noratusci Alik and 6 of his allies were detained today for reasons unclear.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180859 Constitutional Court
Parliament passed a bill to schedule a referendum on April 5th to fire 7 out of 9 CC judges.
The longest-serving CC judge Felix Tokhyan, a Levon Ter-Petrosyan appointee, confirmed that he recently met his "good apprentice" Parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan and other officials. The two haven't discussed the new law that allows judges to retire early and get paid.
Tokhyan doesn't think the court is in a "crisis". Says he's willing to give a detailed press conference to answer questions about CC's past work, including validations of past disputed election results. (CC is accused of validating past elections despite evidence of fraud, and helping the former regimes to give themselves "extra votes" by keeping the voter lists secret.)
He praised the new judge Vahe Grigoryan as a good legal expert and said Grigoryan's ongoing boycott of court sessions is his personal business and it doesn't hinder CC's work.
Tokhyan's brother is a QP MP who recently voted in favor of the referendum that seeks to fire his own brother from CC.
https://factor.am/222405.html betting odds & referendum
Bookmakers give a ~1.x victory coefficient that the YES vote will win, while the NO vote is 25x.
Odds of YES gathering >87% is 1.85x, odds of it gathering <87% is the same 1.85x. Odds of NO getting >12% is the same 1.85x.
The YES needs 650,000 votes to pass.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/180844 Judge Tovmasyan & his godson
The SIS finished the investigation of CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan and his godson Norayr Panosyan for their alleged illegal activities during their 2013 Justice Ministry years. The investigators found enough evidence to send the case to court. The suspects have been given copies of investigation files.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113460 Kocharyan & Co trial
Trial of Robert Kocharyan & Co was delayed until Feb-25 because co-defendant Yuri Khachaturov's translator couldn't show up. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180842
In a different trial, Kocharyan's former chief of staff, also a defendant in a Kocharyan case, says the Appeals Court made a verdict to allow him to move across the border, and to ask the prosecutors examine why his earlier attempt to leave Armenia was blocked at the border. (you have 3 attempts to guess why) https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005333.html Serj & Co trial
Serj, the owner of Flesh Fuel, and others were earlier charged with stealing 0.5bln worth agricultural fuel. Two of the co-defendants had their border-crossing rights restored by a court. One of them wanted to visit Georgia for a vacation.
http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/278065/ Court annuals a police discrimination law
The Human Rights Ombudsman asked the CC to annual two laws: one about prohibiting a policeman from being a member of a religious organization, and the second about restricting a policeman's rights to voluntarily resign or hold regular jobs while he's a subject of a felony investigation.
The first law was struck down. The second one is being heard.
https://factor.am/222353.html Yerevan district chief sacked
Update: Yesterday, Factor outlet reported that Yerevan's Ajapnyak chief Gevorg Babayan was fired because of a corruption investigation initiated against him after a recently-terminated city inspector claimed the district chief fired the inspector to cover up an illegal construction.
ArmTimes outlet contacted the now-former district chief Babayan to get his version of events. He said:
There have been multiple complaints against me and others in the busy construction field. No facts were presented. This could be another such instance. The person who filed a complaint against me is a former employee who used to work as a construction inspector. The city took both of our accounts and sent it to the police. They're investigating.
Yerevan city says the district chief was fired for "poor performance and being too slow".
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/180838 new airlines flight route
Russian Ural Airlines will launch new flights from Perm to Yerevan this year. They got the clearance from the Russian aviation. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005326.html BREAKING: 10 countries recognize Karabakh's independence.
During the Munich security summit, Ilham Aliyev made a gaffe saying "10 countries have recognized the independence of Karabakh" while he meant to say the Khojali events.
Later, the Azeri AZERTAC media outlet edited the footage to do a voice-over to remove the "Karabakh independence" portion and replace it with "Khojali genocide", without issuing a clarification.
I didn't save the link to the edited video. fire in Baku
Baku's Sadarak shopping center joins the now-long list of malls that caught on fire in recent times. Residents have speculated that some of the past fire incidents elsewhere were a result of retaliation or insurance scam. This particular mall burned down 6 months ago as well, injuring 16.
https://jam-news.net/16-people-injured-in-baku-market-fire/ Turkish businessman
Pro-Armenian Turkish businessman Osman Kavala, and his allies, have been acquitted and released from jail by a Turkish court, in a landmark case lobbied by ECHR and human rights groups.
They were arrested in 2017 and charged with organizing "anti-Erdogan" protests in Gezi Park in 2013 that spread across Turkey. 9 were killed and 5,000 injured. Their arrest was viewed as politically motivated.
Interview with Turkish AGOS newspaper editor: https://youtu.be/aQX-bWjxNys
Yerevan apartment prices continue to grow. +11% in 2019 vs 2018.
The Central district was highest at 607k/m2, while Nubarashen lowest at 177k.
The highest avg prices outside of Yerevan was in Tsakhkadzor resort city at 281k, while the lowest in Dastakert at 2k (two thousand drams and zero lumas, my boi).
Grandmaster Karen Grigoryan has already secured his victory in the Spanish Santiago Masters tournament before the last round begins. He has 7 out of 8 points with runner ups having 5.5.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005313.html eggs purged
Food inspectors found 54,000 expired eggs in Myas Factory and destroyed them. The Lusakert Factory was caught with 130,000 eggs with a false date stamp.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005353.html fight against smoking
Cigarette production grew 6.8% in 2019 vs 2018. It accounts for 13% of Armenia's processing industry.
While production grew by 6.8%, the sales grew by 10% thanks to increased exports. Exports to Syria & Iraq +16%, while exports to EAEU -21%.
Grand Tobacco was the #1 taxpayer in 2019, with 57bln in taxes, or +35%.
All while the Armenian public's consumption of cigarettes declined by 0.2%, possibly because of excise tax increase.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113455 Yezidi community
Armenian govt visited Iraq in 2019 and decided to provide aid to Yezidi refugees in Iraq. Today a 3yo Yezidi girl was flown to Armenia to undergo free heart surgery in the Norq Hospital.
plastic bag ban
Update: a short video about the upcoming shopping plastic bag ban in Armenia, local canvas bag manufacturers who're ready to sell reusable bags, nature protection impact.
Կտոր մը Հայաստան TV episode
This Saturday on H1 TV, famous diasporan Armenians will talk about diaspora stuff.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/f5x38o/feb182020_daily_news_summary_from_armenia_stay/
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